Visual Arts

Program Details

The Visual Arts Program develops students' technical and creative abilities. Students are instructed in a wide range of studio disciplines.

Units of Study


Students develop classical and experimental drawing skills through exercises in perspective studies, still life studies, life drawing and technical drawings. Students maintain a sketchbook used in the design and planning of all artwork.


Students are introduced to relief and intaglio printmaking processes. Students undertake the entire printmaking process from the creation of the plate to the final print. A specialized, purpose-built printmaking studio allows students a unique studio experience.


Students are introduced to traditional and mixed media painting methodologies, using a variety of water-based media. Students develop and integrate personal imagery into their work.


Students are introduced to the medium of digital photography. Beginning with an understanding of the basic operations of a digital camera, students explore photographic history, techniques, aesthetics, and practice.


Students develop hand building and wheel-throwing skills, as well as a range of surface decoration, glazing, and finishing techniques. Students produce both functional and sculptural forms, and a range of other sculptural inquiries.

Art History

Students study Western and non-Western art history. Students develop their understanding of art history and use this knowledge to develop a context for their own work.

Art Exhibits

In the course of their art studies at Canterbury, Visual Arts students are given the opportunity to display their work. The school lobby houses a large gallery with showcases and wall displays of student paintings, drawings, prints, photos, ceramics and sculptures.

Audition Information

Applicants will attend a Life Drawing Workshop and an interview.

Life Drawing Workshop (60 minutes)

Applicants will participate in a life drawing workshop in which they will draw from a draped model. These drawings become a required part of the student’s portfolio submission. The workshop allows the audition panel to observe each student’s drawing ability and to see how each student responds to direction. All materials are provided. At the end of the life drawing workshop, students are given a homework assignment which they will complete and bring to their individual interviews. (Homework Assignment: Complete a 20-30 min black and white drawing of your hand holding an object. Use pencil and white paper to produce this life sized image).

Interview (15 minutes)

Bring your portfolio. Be prepared to talk about your work and creative process; discuss successes and challenges you had during the preparation of your portfolio. Convey your passion for making art.

Portfolio Requirements (specifications regarding canvas size are approximate)

Our emphasis is on work from observation and the creation of original works of art (i.e. drawing from life). We ask applicants to bring a variety of work but no Anime. Do not draw from photographs or copy the artwork of others. Each student will present a portfolio of artwork which must include:

1. Still Life in Colour (minimum 2 hours work)

  • Size requirements: 16 x 20 inch (paper/canvas size) with a blank 2 inch drawn border (within the 16x20in).
  • Materials: pencil crayons, chalk pastels, or another dry colour media of your choice
  • Include four different items (natural forms such as fruits and vegetables) in a draped background. Use forms that present diversity in size, shape and texture.
  • Items should be overlapped to consider their:
    • form
    • tone
    • composition (how the objects are arranged)
  • Light your still life from one side to emphasize contrast between light and dark.

2. Portrait Study (minimum 2 hours work)

  • Size requirements: 16 x 20 inch with a blank 2 inch border (within the 16x20in).
  • Materials: Black and white media of choice
  • A portrait study, life size to the shoulders, to be drawn from a live model, emphasizing the contrast between light and dark.
  • Do not draw from a photograph

3. Self-Portrait (minimum 2 hours work)

  • Size requirements: 16 x 20 inch with a blank 2 inch border (within the 16x20in).
  • Materials: pencil
  • A self-portrait drawn from direct observation in a mirror emphasizing the contrast between light and dark.
  • Do not draw from a photograph

4. Sculpture (minimum 2 hours work)

  • Create a sculpture. This three-dimensional form should be interesting from all angles.
  • Suggested materials: clay, papier-mâché, wire, paper, wood, fabric.

5. Personal Artwork

Five works of the applicant's choosing which reflect imagination, creativity, attention to detail, and careful work (i.e. drawings, paintings, design, photography, etc.) completed within the last two years. These works can be school assignments or personal work.

6. Sketchbook

A sketchbook that includes drawings, paintings, designs, photographs, material experiments, notes, etc.

NOTE: Please do not have the works framed.

Incomplete portfolios will not be considered.

Long Distance Requirements/instructions

Please click HERE to access the long distance requirements.